Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

May 24, 2006

Whitworth Student-Musicians Earn Top Awards at Musicfest Northwest Competition

Nine Whitworth students earned high honors at the 2006 Musicfest Northwest competition, an annual festival for musicians and dancers that was held May 14-19 at Gonzaga University. Capping the students' achievements is that of trombonist Greg Hoff, '07, who won a gold medal in the Young Artist Brass Division. Hoff received a $250 scholarship and performed May 17 as a soloist with the Spokane Symphony. The concert featured performances by the winners of each of the Young Artist divisions: brass, flute, guitar, piano, reed, string and voice.

Musicfest Northwest, now in its 61st year, draws participants ages seven through adult from the Pacific Northwest and other areas of the country. This year, competitors from as far away as Colorado and Alabama took part in the event, according to Shirley Ennis, chairperson of the piano division. The festival's Young Artist Division is a special category reserved for the most talented musicians. Competitors in the Young Artist Division performed a memorized movement from a major concerto and a movement from another major work, then sight-read a piece chosen by the judge.

In addition to Hoff's gold medal, Whitworth clarinetist Stacy Boyer, '06, won a gold medal in the Young Artist reed division, oboist Mickey Hansen, '09, trumpeter Jared Hall, '08, and vocalist Emily Kelleher, '06, won Young Artist silver medals; pianist Mary Trotter, '07, and guitarist Jacob Hildebrand, '09, won gold medals in their divisions; vocalist Lisa Gilman, '08, won two silver medals; and vocalist Allison Kromer, '06, won a silver medal.

"Each year Whitworth's music program is validated by the large number of student-musicians who win gold and silver medals at Musicfest Northwest," says Whitworth Professor of Music and Department Chair Dan Keberle. "I am very proud of our hard-working students and their high achievements, and I am equally proud of the fine music faculty who have wisely and carefully taught and inspired these students to reach their full potential as performing musicians. Our students compete successfully against college students from throughout the Western United States, as well as against graduate students from large universities who on occasion take part in this competition."

Hoff, an accomplished classical and jazz trombonist, has earned a reputation as one of the Whitworth Music Department's most dedicated and hardest-working instrumental music majors, and as a top student who excels in the department's demanding music-history and music-theory courses.

"When Greg first arrived at Whitworth, he was already a good trombone player," says Associate Professor of Music Richard Strauch. "Over the last three years, he has begun to find his voice on the trombone and to become an expressive musician. Greg is a great example of the music student who takes advantage of all that Whitworth has to offer; he has academic depth and broad accomplishment in the performance field."

As a jazz trombonist, Hoff was lead trombone of the Whitworth Jazz Ensemble for 2005-06 and is one of the band's top improvisers and soloists, Keberle says.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Daniel Keberle, professor of music and director of the Whitworth Jazz Ensemble, (509) 777- 4582 or dkeberle@whitworth.edu.

Richard Strauch, associate professor of music and conductor of the Whitworth Wind Symphony, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4587 or rstrauch@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information officer, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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